OBASHI Think

See things clearly

Why does Information Technology exist?

By way of a simple example, here is the OBASHI take:

 

Every so often a company's CFO will phone an IT Manager because she wants to do some finance work relating to his department and she needs the manager to send her something so she can continue.

 

Often the work will entail dealing with some arcane accounting procedure that only a qualified professional can understand.  The same sort of thing often happens with company lawyers.  The workings of their world are often a mystery to the IT Manager, just as the IT world is usually a mystery to them.

 

The CFO usually ends a conversation by saying something like, "...ok, when you find it fire it over and I'll work it out and send back the results."

 

At that point the IT Manager will take a look at a document or spreadsheet and find the numbers the CFO requires.

 

But in a complex accounting context the numbers usually mean little to the IT Manager, because he doesn't have the level of knowledge required to make sense of them.   To him the numbers are just data.

 

Once the IT Manager has discovered and recognised the correct data he uses a keyboard to transfer the data into a computer, then he hits the email 'send' button.  The data flows, through various pieces of hardware and cabling, (it may bounce off a satellite too), until it reaches the CFO's computer.

 

The CFO reads the data and, applying her professional knowledge, adds it to a calculation, enters it in a spreadsheet or makes some other use of it which is valuable to the business.  The data is put in context and becomes useful business information.

 

In the above example, the IT Manager can be considered as a business asset, along with the PCs, hardware, cables and satellites.  The role of the assets is to enable the data to flow to where it is needed.

 

Improvement in the performance of the business depends on how the data is used by people applying their knowledge.

 

That's why we believe IT exists for one reason: to support the flow of data between business assets.

 

 

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Comment by Machteld Meijer on February 3, 2011 at 8:53

Nice story !

 

I think the content of data is not a responsibility of an IT manager and a subject IT managers have to understand, though.

Maybe an information manager should?

(or perhaps my definition of an IT manager differs from yours :-) )

 

Yes, IT exists because turning data into information on paper only would take too much time, therefore it does support the flow of data.

But IT management is not about the content of the data, the actual numbers.

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